Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (57)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

57. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications his plans to legislate for a ban on oil and gas exploration licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2915/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

On taking office as Minister, I made the Programme for Government commitment to end the issuing of new licences for the exploration and extraction of gas on the same basis as the decision taken in 2019 by the previous Government in relation to oil exploration and extraction, effective immediately.

My Department is no longer accepting new applications for exploration licences for natural gas or oil, nor will there be any future licensing rounds in Closed areas. While there is no requirement for legislative underpinning for this commitment, I have asked my officials to consider how best to give it statutory effect and whether a suitable legislative vehicle is available in the short term.